The 40 Days for Life national pro-life campaign of prayer, advocacy and community outreach saved at least 563 babies from abortion between Sept. 28 and Nov. 6, organizers said.
“We’re obviously very excited about that,” said campaign director Shawn Carney, who reported that the just-finished campaign was the largest ever.
Participants organized pro-life events in 301 cities and 46 new locations. They prayed outside abortion clinics and spoke to women and men considering abortion. For the first time, events took place in Germany, Argentina and Puerto Rico.
“I really think that the theme of this fall campaign was momentum. There’s been so much good going on in the pro-life movement. When we started 40 Days for Life as a national effort in fall of 2007 we never imagined that it would go to so many cities, and all 50 states, and 10 countries. But it has,” Carney told EWTN News.
The pro-life organization began in Bryan/College Station, Texas in 2004. Its first national campaign in fall 2007 involved more than 80 cities in over 30 states.
The campaign has since drawn more than 400,000 participants. Sixteen abortion facilities targeted by the campaign’s peaceful advocacy have closed.
“The numbers just continue to grow,” Carney said. “We’re really in awe at how God has taken this very simple effort, what’s done in our community in Texas, and just spread it to so many communities throughout the world.”
“We’re basically asking people to pray and fast for an end to abortion. We’re asking them to go to the places where abortions actually happen. It’s one of the most controversial things you can do in our society today.”
Carney reported that the new Puerto Rico campaign made “a big splash” and provoked legal abortion advocates to organize a protest outside of a Catholic cathedral.
“The archbishop was extremely supportive of 40 Days for Life. He defended it to the media,” Carney said. “It really shows how much of an impact you can have.”
As for the future, he advised pro-life advocates to expand their numbers.
“Always be focused on growing and bringing new people into the pro-life movement,” Carney said, adding that there are “hundreds” of abortion facilities which have not yet had a peaceful vigil and protest outside their doors.
The upcoming election year, he said, will bring awareness of abortion.
“It’ll be on people’s minds in 2012, and it should be.”
Carney said pro-life groups should give people an avenue for necessary political action, but more importantly they should provide the means “to help the woman who is considering abortion today or next weekend in their community, and continue to make this a local issue, and that’s ultimately how to get people involved.”